Joseph A. Kuiper

Partner | jkuiper@wnj.com | V-Card | Profile PDF Grand RapidsT +1.616.752.2481F +1.616.222.2481 Joe Kuiper is a trial and appellate litigator with over 16 years' experience representing clients in commercial litigation in state and federal courts and arbitration proceedings. He specializes in assisting clients with their most complex and challenging legal matters, including winning a complete trial victory for a client facing more than $100 million in damages and penalties in a suit brought by the State of Michigan. Joe’s experience includes... Read More
Joe Kuiper is a trial and appellate litigator with over 16 years' experience representing clients in commercial litigation in state and federal courts and arbitration proceedings. He specializes in assisting clients with their most complex and challenging legal matters, including winning a complete trial victory for a client facing more than $100 million in damages and penalties in a suit brought by the State of Michigan.

Joe’s experience includes the following types of disputes:
  • Breach of contract
  • UCC disputes between buyers and sellers of goods
  • Negligence, fraud, and other business torts
  • Trademark and copyright
  • Defamation
  • Business, shareholder, and valuation disputes
  • Insurance
  • Constitutional law
Before joining the firm, Joe served as a law clerk to the Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is a published author with over 20 articles covering a range of commercial and insurance litigation matters.
  • Experience
  • Biography
  • News
  • Publications
  • Leadership

Experience

Breach of Contract
  • Lead counsel to medical device manufacturer in breach of contract and fraud suit with vendor.  Successfully settled case with creative warranty scheme that preserved the parties’ business relationship.  (CJPS Healthcare Supplies & Equipment v. Ansar Medical Technologies, Inc.)
  • Lead trial counsel to baby formula manufacturer in suit against vendor, whose failure to follow procedures during installation of computer system caused damage to client’s products.  (Mead Johnson Corp. v. RoviSys)
  • Lead counsel to wallpaper manufacturer in breach of contract suit brought by sales representative.  Successfully persuaded court to deny the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and grant our motion on nine out of ten of the issues raised by the plaintiff’s complaint.  (Elite Int’l v. Patton Wallcoverings)
  • Successful representation of firetruck manufacturer in UCC suit involving allegedly nonconforming trucks.  Obtained summary judgment on most of plaintiff’s claims.  (City of Cincinnati v. Luverne Fire Apparatus)
  • Defended manufacturer of engine components in breach of contract suit brought by buyer.  Reached creative settlement that preserved the parties’ relationship.  (Williams International v. Woodward Governor Co.)
  • Counsel for manufacturer in suit alleging fraud, breach of contract, and violation of state law.  Persuaded court to grant summary judgment on all of plaintiff’s claims.  Successfully defended judgment on appeal.  (Touchton v. Amway Corp.)
  • Successful representation of manufacturer in UCC breach of contract dispute with supplier.  (Spartan Motors Corp. v. Mid-State Tool).  Reached favorable settlement after motion practice.
  • Represented manufacturer in breach of contract suit against supplier.  Achieved favorable settlement after winning summary judgment on all of supplier’s defenses.  (Hastings v. Melton)
  • Defended client in suit alleging breach of contract and fraud in agreement to sell gap insurance.  Persuaded court to dismiss suit due to the plaintiff’s failure to follow a forum selection clause when suit was five months old.  (Thomas v. Omni Auto)
  • Defended client in suit alleging breach of shipping contract.  Won dismissal of case based on inconvenient forum when suit was three months old.  (Central Transport Int’l v. North American Freight Exchange)
  • Defended client in suit alleging breach of contract in agreement to purchase airplane.  Obtained dismissal of case based on lack of personal jurisdiction when suit was three months old.  (Triple SSS Aviation v. Adkisson)
Torts
  • Successful defense of manufacturer in suit brought by State of Michigan seeking over $100 million in damages and penalties for alleged groundwater contamination.  Obtained complete victory on all claims following four years of litigation and three-week trial.  (Michigan v. AAR Corp.)
  • Successful defense of doctor in False Claims Act suit brought by a former competitor alleging Medicare and Medicaid fraud.  Won dismissal of suit based on failure to comply with pleadings standards for fraud claims.  (Laucirica v. Stryker Corp., et al.)
  • Successful defense of company in suit brought by losing bidder in a state bid contest.  Persuaded court to dismiss entire case on merits when case was three months old.  (True North Global Office Solutions v. Michigan Legislative Consultants)
  • Lead defense counsel in a defamation suit based on statements appearing in a newsletter.  Reached favorable settlement at mediation.  (Fowler v. Termaat)
  • Lead counsel to advertising agency in defamation suit.  (Cydcor, Inc. v. Detroit Business Consulting)  Obtained six-figure settlement for client.
Shareholder
  • Sole trial counsel to minority shareholder in stock-valuation and shareholder oppression suit.  Persuaded arbitrators to award client $3 million following a week-long arbitration, despite unfavorable wording in the stock redemption agreement.  Successfully defended post-arbitration motions to vacate and modify. (Gilchrist v. Global Manufacturing & Assembly Corp.)
  • Successful defense of majority shareholders in suit seeking valuation of minority interest in closely-held LLC following squeeze-out merger.  Obtained favorable settlement following mediation.  (Netshape v. Jackson)
Insurance
  • Litigated insurance claim seeking coverage under CGL policies for copyright infringement claims.  Obtained favorable six-figure settlement after winning summary judgment on all of insurer’s defenses.  (ADBA v. Northfield Insurance Co.)
  • Successfully litigated declaratory judgment action against primary and excess insurers for coverage under CGL policies for environmental pollution claims.  Obtained settlement resulting in payment to our client of millions of dollars in defense costs, despite the presence of a pollution exclusion in the policies.  (AAR v. Liberty Mutual Insurance)
  • Successful representation of gas station owner in suit seeking insurance coverage for business interruption and other losses from a fire.  Obtained favorable six-figure settlement following mediation.  (Wesco v. Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.)
  • Represented manufacturer in case seeking insurance coverage for home destroyed by freezing pipes.  (Whirlpool Corp. v. Auto Owners)
  • Counsel to distributors’ group in successful Sixth Circuit appeal, which become first court in nation to bind excess insurer to undisclosed changes made to renewal policy by primary insurer.  (ADBA v. Northfield Insurance Co.)
  • Successful Michigan Supreme Court representation in case of first impression involving a challenge to a no-fault insurance option.  (MCC v. Commissioner of Financial & Insurance Services, et al.)
  • Successful representation of estate of deceased driver in suit against underinsurance carrier.  Obtained summary judgment on all of insurer’s defenses, resulting in six-figure payment to client.  Successfully defended judgment on appeal.  (Ellinger v. Allied Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co.)
Intellectual Property
  • Lead defense counsel to dry cleaner in trademark infringement suit.  Reached favorable settlement.  (CRDN v. Ridgeland Cleaners)
  • Lead defense counsel to licensing agent in copyright infringement suit.  Case resolved with favorable settlement.  (Design Design, Inc. v. Two Town Studios)
Constitutional Law
  • Worked with team of attorneys successfully persuading the Michigan Supreme Court to grant leave to appeal in case of first impression involving validity of Indian gambling compacts under State law.
  • Counsel for citizens groups in three federal court actions opposing construction of tribal casinos.  Successfully persuaded courts to order Department of Interior to perform new environmental assessments under National Environmental Policy Act.

Industries

Practices

Education

  • University of Illinois J.D. 1997 magna cum laude
  • Hope College B.A. 1993 summa cum laude

Admitted

  • 1998, Michigan

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Clerk Experience

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr.

Honors and Awards

  • Order of the Coif
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Univ. of Illinois Law Review, Articles Editor
  • Rickert 3L awards for oral advocacy, legal writing, and student publications
  • National Moot Court Team; awarded Best Brief and advanced to final round of University of Illinois Moot Court Competition
  • First Prize, Judge John R. Brown National Legal Writing Competition (1997)
  • John Holly Rapp academic scholarship
  • Hope College Student Congress President/Vice-President

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Litigation Section; Appellate Practice Committee, Council of Appellate Lawyers; Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section
  • Federal Bar Association
    W.D. of Michigan Chapter: Executive Committee (2005-Present); Editor of Western District Bar & Bench Newsletter (2005-Present)
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Litigation Section; Appellate Practice Section; Insurance and Indemnity Law Section, Co-chair of Insurance Law Committee
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Publications

Blog Posts

Professional Affiliations

  • Defense Research Institute
    Litigation and Appellate Advocacy Committees
  • Council of Appellate Lawyers
    Publications Committee (2003-06)

Community Affiliations

  • Aberdeen Reformed Church
    Member; pro bono counsel
  • North End Community Ministries
    Board of Directors (2007-Present); Vice President (2010-Present)
  • Grand Rapids Youth Soccer
    Coach (2005-Present)
  • Habitat for Humanity of Kent County
    Past pro bono counsel

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